The Bible teaches a resurrection from the dead. But how will it actually happen? Isn’t it impossible for dead bodies to come alive again after they have decomposed?
This is a good question. We all see the way death works in this world. People die, their bodies decompose, and nothing can reverse the process. It is against the laws of physics.
Belief in the resurrection of the body requires belief not just in the supernatural, but a supremely powerful and all-knowing being not bound by the laws of time or space. Only this kind of being would be able to not only raise bodies long dead, but to keep them alive forever. It follows that this being would have to be unchanging, but also kind and loving. This, of course, describes the Christian God perfectly.
Therefore, the answer to the question, “How will decomposed bodies be raised back to life?” is, “The unlimited power and love of God.”
It is hard for this to sink in without examples. For instance, many people contest the resurrection of the body, saying that it is impossible for all of the particles of the body to come back together, even with supernatural help. Let’s say that a man died at sea, and the particles of his body spread out over the ocean. What if he was eaten by a cannibal? What if an astronaut dies in a violent space explosion and his vaporized body is spread throughout the farthest reaches of the solar system? Even when considering the awesome power of God, this task seems very difficult.
For some perspective, though, Colossians 1:15-17 says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
At this moment, and in every moment, God controls every single particle or wave in the universe. God did not create the universe and set it spinning on, run by laws of its own. He is the one who controls it and sustains it every moment and every place. The location or path of all the particles that make up my body is not a mystery to him. He sees them all. If he didn’t, the universe would cease to exist.
To pile on, God exists outside of time and space. He doesn’t have a past or a future; that is something that only exists in his creation. If we can imagine movie characters traveling back in time to save loved ones, it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine that God can raise people to life after they have died.
Another way to answer the “how?” question is to look at Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus was as dead as can be, there is no doubt about that. His body was put into a tomb, and left to decompose. On the third day, he came back to life and walked out of the tomb. He was the same person, with the same body. His resurrection is what our resurrections will be like.